Life history characteristics of a coral reef sponge

E. Meroz, M. Ilan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study of the life history characteristics of the common Red Sea sponge Mycale fistulifera (Poecilosclerida: Demospongiae) reveals several traits which may categorize it as an opportunistic species: (1) at least part of the population is reproductively active throughout the year, providing a continuous supply of larvae for settlement; (2) sponges may produce and release a large number (152±39 larvae d-1) of brooded larvae; (3) released larvae are capable of fast settlement and metamorphosis (minutes to 30 hours post-release); (4) the turnover of the population is high and population size varies with time. From 48 initial sponges plus 94 recruits, only 25 remained alive after 14 months of observation; (5) most members of the population (>70%) have a small body size (<30 cm2); (6) sexual maturity may occur at an early age. These traits facilitate continuous establishment of M. fistulifera in new spaces on the reef; (7) M. fistulifera, preferred substrate is another opportunistic species, the coral Stylophora pistillata which it overgrows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-451
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1995


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